This is a question that many businesses who are exhibiting often ask themselves. And it’s not as simple as you might think, you have a few things to consider.

The first thing to consider is whether your customers are a good fit for the tradeshow.  If you are in the business to business world and you are using a trade show to launch a consumer product then
your existing customers may not necessarily be a very good fit, unless your customers could aid your product launch.

Shaking on itAnother consideration is distance.   If you are a local company and are going to a trade show in another part of the country, are your customers likely to want to travel to the tradeshow if you invite them? In other words, will they get anything out of taking the time out and travelling the distance?

One of the biggest fears that many exhibitors have when considering inviting their customers to tradeshow is the possibility that your customers will meet another supplier who do what you do. The thing to remember here is that on any given day there is a chance that your customer will be contacted by one of your competitors or will see an ad by one of your competitors. This situation boils down to the strength of the relationship you have with your customer. If you’re in any way insecure about that then you really need to consider the value you bring to your customers or the level of your customer retention.

But let’s look at the reasons why you should invite your clients and contacts to a tradeshow where you are exhibiting.

First of all it’s a great way of strengthening your relationship with your clients. It could be a very good way of introducing more potential services and products to those who already do business with you. The event could end up being an excellent networking opportunity to your client.

Second, you could be introducing your clients to a great marketing and sales opportunity of their own. It’s possible that they will meet new clients or new contacts at the show. Not only that, but they may also realise that exhibiting would benefit their business.

Third, you could position the invitation as a special clients only concept. This would work particularly well if you bought any special sponsorship of the event or are in some way advertising beyond your stand at the show.

Whatever you decide to do on this just remember that keeping your clients and contacts involved in what you’re doing as a business is a great way of ensuring an ongoing communication and dialogue between you. Many businesses change suppliers simply because they didn’t feel particularly important enough to stay with that supplier. Inviting your customers to a tradeshow where you are exhibiting could be a great way of keeping your relationship strong.

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